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Movie angst

News of the Year | In 2008, blockbusters turned to the dark side

Issue: "News of the Year," Dec. 27, 2008

A few lighthearted exceptions like Mama Mia notwithstanding, 2008 brought dreary days to the local Cineplex, not only in earnings but in tone. As the Golden Globes proved in December, the industry loves to reward downers. But this year it wasn't just critically acclaimed art-house flicks; blockbusters turned to the dark side as well. James Bond became a tortured renegade. In Cloverfield the monster won. And the year's biggest earner, The Dark Knight, offered up perhaps the most disturbing comic-based villain of all time-a psychopath with no aims beyond wanting the world to burn. Valid cultural insight in a world beleaguered by the specter of terrorism? Yes. Escapist popcorn fantasy? Hardly. Even the teenage romance took a bleak turn, as Twilight's leading lady did not dance with the quarterback but exchanged few words in a wintry gray forest with an undead suitor longing to drink her blood.

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Friend me

By The Editors

PA Wire/Associated Press

Advertisers are estimated to have spent more than $1.2 billion in 2008 trying to reach social networking users, whose time on networking sites like Facebook and MySpace has increased 93 percent in the last two years. Not every advertiser is legit: Spammers in 2008 managed to trick countless teens and tweens to click a link for a video from their Facebook inbox that infects the user's PC with a spambot virus known as Koobface. It can infect a user's computer and turn it into a spamming slave, sending out email spam messages at the direction of a malicious proxy.

An apple in every pot

By The Editors

PA Wire/Associated Press

In its first three days on the market, Apple's iPhone 3G surpassed 1 million in sales, crushing the previous record set by its iPhone predecessor a year ago. The new model went international and by year's end was available in 72 countries, with 11 more countries on the way. The device may also go discount; rumors on tech websites suggested Wal-Mart could begin selling iPhones by year's end.

Who are you?

By Source: Google

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Top 10 "who is" searches on google in 2008:

1. who is obama

2. who is mccain

3. who is palin

4. who is lil wayne

5. who is miley cyrus

6. who is dolla

7. who is jonas brothers

8. who is chris brown

9. who is biden

10. who is martin luther

Leave my DNA alone

By The Editors

When Google co-founder Sergey Brin discovered that his wife's DNA testing company, 23andMe, gave him a 20 percent to 80 percent chance of developing Parkinson's disease, he typified the seesaw between curiosity and concern many Americans feel: Genetic information showing you have a heightened risk for Alzheimer's disease or breast cancer could enable you to take preventative measures-or tell others too much about you.

Congress passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act in May to keep employers and insurers from using genetic data to sift or sort workers and clients. The medical profession warned the public about the uncertainties of testing even as personal DNA tests went retail ($399 for 23andMe's kit).

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